World Bulletin/News Desk
The suspects accused of 10 murders in Germany began to deliver their testimonies in the third hearing of the trial of the racist National Socialist Underground (NSU) group on Wednesday.
The Higher State Court of Munich is trying neo-Nazi suspect Beate Zschäpe and four alleged supporters of the NSU terrorist group, who stand accused of the murder of 10 victims, eight of whom were Turks and one a Greek immigrant. The 10th victim was a German policewoman.
The first session of the trial, which was held on May 6, was put on hold after defense lawyers accused the presiding judge of bias.
One of the suspects, Holger Gerlach, began giving his testimony in the German court. During his police interrogation, Gerlach had admitted that Zschäpe is a member of the NSU.
In the second hearing of the trial on Tuesday, a shortened version of the indictment of the case was read out.
Following a break, the presiding judge, Manfred Götzl, suggested that a separate case be launched concerning a bomb attack that took place in Cologne in 2004. Noting that there could be a rise in the number of co-plaintiff lawyers in the case, Götzl asked the co-plaintiff lawyers to make a statement to this effect.
Later, the lawyers for Zschäpe and Ralf Wohlleben, another suspect, criticized the composition of the court's panel of judges.
The co-plaintiff lawyers in the NSU trial told the Anatolia news agency that they were pleased with the course of the trial although they complained about attempts by the defense lawyers to slow the trial down.
Lawyer Mehmet Daimagüler, who represents the families of two NSU victims, said the trial began slowly on Tuesday, with the defense lawyers making some demands which were hard to accept and that these moves were just aimed at slowing down the trial.
“However, we proceeded quickly in the second stage and the indictment was read,” said the lawyer, adding that he expects the trial to continue at the same pace.
Daimagüler also said that from now on, he expects the suspects to give their testimonies, the witnesses to be heard and all of the incidents to be handled in a chronological manner.
Carsten Ilius, the lawyer for Gamze and Elif Kubaşık, one of the victim's relatives, also said the trial was proceeding as they expected and that the reading of the indictment was good for their clients.
The NSU trial was originally set to begin on April 17 but was postponed to May 6 following a heated debate over press accreditation. The Higher State Court of Munich previously did not allocate seats for Turkish media to follow the trial of five members of the neo-Nazi ring. In early April, the court backpedaled on that decision after facing harsh criticism and decided to allow some Turkish journalists to attend the hearings.
The NSU is a previously unknown group that was discovered in late 2011. An inquiry revealed botched police investigations, failure to consider racist motives for the killings between 2000 and 2007, a lack of communication between Germany's intelligence services and a failure to properly monitor members of neo-Nazi groups.Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2013, 10:04